Sooth stuck to her night dress, her face, and hands. Rachael sat amongst the ashes of what a day before had been her pet project. She didn’t realize that tears had formed a stream down her cheeks dusted with sooth. Until a hand fell on her shoulders she didn’t realize where she was or what had happened. Chris lifted her in her arms and walked towards the house. Rachael turned back and kept looking at the building which was burnt to ground.
Few hours later
Rachael could hear Donna and Barbara talking softly right outside the door. Few seconds later Barbara and Donna entered the room followed by Chris and Joshua with big bath tub and placed it middle of the room.
“What are you doing? Why is that bath tub in the room?” Rachael said trying to get up from her bed
“No don’t get up, stay on bed until we bring in warm water for your bath” Said Donna stopping Rachael from moving an inch, while Barbara ensured the guys brought in enough hot water. As soon as the tub was filled with water, she shooed them away from the room. She then walked to the bed and with help of Donna had Rachael undressed against her protests. Once Rachael was settled in warm water, Barbara helped to wash her hair as Donna laid Rachael’s dress on the bed.
“This feels very good, I have to say. But you both know well enough that I could have had bath myself” said Rachael relaxing under Barbara’s expert hands
“Well we were not sure if you will be able to stand on your own feet after running back and forth trying to put end to fire all on your own” said Donna walking towards the tub with large towel in her hand.
Rachael stood up and covered the towel on her body before slowly sitting on the arm chair next to her bed. This was her favorite chair. When she was kid and staying with Aunty Jenny in the house would sneak up to this room and sleep on the chair looking at the sky through the window.
Donna took up the task to help dry Rachael’s hair as Barbara walked out the room with promise of warm breakfast. Once her hair was dry Donna helped Rachael into fresh pair of pajamas and forced her into the bed. “You better stay in bed Rachael. You scared the hell out of all of us crying like that.”
“What do you mean? Cry” Said Rachael shocked not remembering anything and having lost her control in front god knew how many people
“Nothing…” before Donna could say anything Barbara and Chris opened the door with her breakfast. Placing the small lap table in front of her Barbara forced Rachael to finish every morsel kept in front of her. Tears welled up in Rachael’s eyes. Chris sat next to her and wiped her tears.
Trying to laugh her tears away she said “Haha, sorry I don’t know what is wrong. Must be all the smoke I inhaled” trying to bring her emotions under control.
Chris just sat on her bed not showing a hint that he bought her explanation. He lifted the portable table along with plate and gave it to Donna and Barbara. They silently walked out of the room leaving Rachael alone with Chris. He walked to the end of the room and sat on the window ledge and kept looking at Rachael unblinking.
They sat in silence for very long time until finally Rachael lost her patience and said “What? Why do you look at me as if I am a ghost?”
Rachael was taken aback by the anger in his voice and his question.
“Are you a ghost Rach? Answer me?”
Rachael was at loss of words at this sudden turn of events. She looked anywhere but him trying to form an answer. She opened her mouth to reply but, “Anything that comes out of your mouth now, better be truth Rach” said Chris striding towards her.
When Rachael kept quiet, Chris said “Do you remember that night on the roof Rach? It was the best time I ever had. An unofficial date with the girl I always wanted.” That got Rachael’s attention and anger swelled in her “Don’t you make fun of my infatuation to you Chris”
“Make fun? I was always in love with you, but you were so naïve and innocent. Do you have any idea how much I looked for you when I heard about the fire. I refused to believe that I had lost you in that blasted fire. Everyone thought I had gone mad to go looking for you.”
“I am sorry” said Rachael tears streaming down her face “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I just can’t seem to stop crying since I met you yesterday.”
Despite the gravity of the situation Chris laughed “You see I can the hint of the naïve little girl I fell in love with”
“I am not a small girl”
“Well nobody knows that better than me” said Chris as he tried to control his lust and need to hold one girl he ever wanted. He took her hand in his caressing the inner palm with his thumb, “Please tell me Rach, what happened? Why all these lies?
“Because they are necessary for me to take my revenge”
Chris inched closer to Rach as she narrated her ordeal in past decade.
“The night the hostel room caught fire I was out. I had sneaked out for a walk. When I saw the fire I went running back, only to see my father with the school cook. He was paying him for some job well done. I didn’t know what it was until I heard him say to the cook that he should ensure my body was never to be found as my mother’s. Fearing for my life, I ran until my legs gave up. I found myself boarding a train to New York City. With no ticket I was caught, but an old lady came to my rescue. When she heard why I was running away, she took me in. I changed my name and lived with her as her companion until I was spotted by a fashion photographer. Rest is history. But I always vowed that I would take my revenge. Few months back Uncle John saw me at one of my shoots in Wyoming and we came up with plan to take down Ted.”
“That old geezer has no sense to agree with you on this stupid scheme.”
“Hey, watch it. Don’t you dare talk like that about Uncle John.”
“hahaha, ya you were always his pet. A daughter my parents never had.”
They fell silent for few minutes, both trying access what just happened. “By the way how did you know it me?”
“Our photograph from the event, when you had clicked my pictures, and this” saying Chris pulled the charms out of his pocket.